Membrane Reactors for Renewable Fuel Production and Their Environmental Benefits

  • Sanaa Hafeez
  • S. M. Al-Salem
  • Achilleas ConstantinouEmail author
Part of the Environmental Chemistry for a Sustainable World book series (ECSW, volume 42)


In this communication, we discuss various production methods as potential venues targeted towards alternative fuel generation. These will revolve around the Fischer–Tropsch (FT) process and biodiesel and hydrogen generation techniques. The implementation of membrane reactors in the production of fuels will be shown and discussed; and their advantages will be detailed. The main routes of hydrogen production are also detailed, which include autothermal reforming and biological process. This was done to compare the main advantages of various techniques for the production of hydrogen, as it is noted to be the most desired utility fuel that can serve various purposes. The application of membranes also facilitates an increase in the conversion of desired products while shifting the equilibrium of the reaction and reducing undesired by-products. Membrane reactors also overcome immiscibility issues that hinder conventional reactor processes. Membrane reactors are also demonstrated to reduce the difficulty in separating and purifying impurities, as they couple separation and reaction in one process. This shows drastic economic and energy requirement reductions in the amount of wastewater treatment associated with conventional fuel production reactor. Emphasis is also paid to catalytic membranes used for the production of biodiesel, which can also remove glycerol from the product line as an added advantage.


Countercurrent membrane Fischer–Tropsch Hydrogen Pyrolysis Transesterification 





Carbon monoxide


Carbon dioxide


Fatty acid methyl esters




Greenhouse gases




Monolith loop catalytic membrane reactor


Nickel (-based catalyst)




Pressure swing absorption


Poly(vinyl alcohol)


Rhodium (-based catalyst)


Steam methane reforming


Sulfur dioxide


Sulfonated poly(vinyl alcohol)


Thermochemical treatment


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanaa Hafeez
    • 1
  • S. M. Al-Salem
    • 2
  • Achilleas Constantinou
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering, School of EngineeringLondon South Bank UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.Environment & Life Sciences Research CentreKuwait Institute for Scientific ResearchSafatKuwait
  3. 3.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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